Doris Lee Steele Bennett
WAYCROSS – Doris Lee Steele Bennett, 91, passed away Saturday morning, October 19, 2019 at Baptist Village in Waycross. Born in Clearwater, Fla., April 23, 1928, Mrs. Bennett was the second child of Arabelle Tyre Steele and James T. Steele. Mrs. Bennett and her brother moved to Jesup when she was just three years old after their mother died. Along with her brother, they were raised by her dad’s sister, Kathleen Steele Harper, and her husband, Robert (Bob) L. Harper. Along with their daughter Ruby Mae Pittman, born later, the Harper’s became her primary family. Mrs. Bennett would spend summers in Clearwater with her father and brother. The Harper family later moved to Waycross, where she attended elementary and middle schools and graduated from Waycross High School in 1945. She also attended Georgia College in Milledgeville for one year. While home on summer break in Waycross in 1946, she decided on a lark to apply for a job at the Southern Bell Telephone & Telegraph Company in Waycross. This began a working career starting as a long-distance operator and advancing over the years to work in the business office. It was while at the phone company she met the love of her life, David Arthur Bennett Jr., at a company Christmas party in 1951. They later married in front of the fireplace of the home they built together in 1953 on a parcel of the Bennett family farm in Blackshear. Many of her lifelong friends, though, were those early associates met while working with the phone company. The Bennetts started their family in 1954 with the birth of their first son, David Arthur Bennett III. At that time, she became a full-time homemaker and they had two more children, Kathleen Frances (Kathy) and Gregory Leon (Greg). The family moved to Jesup with the telephone company, returning to Blackshear and the farm in 1965 when David became ill. Mrs. Bennett was always actively engaged in her children’s involvement in school sports, 4-H, band, dance and church as well as extended family and community activities. Throughout her life, she was an avid and active member of the Pierce County Homemaker Association, Blackshear Presbyterian Church, later serving as an elder. As she matured, Mrs. Bennett could sometimes be reclusive. But as a young mother, she was known for a few bold choices, as many remember her deep purple kitchen cabinets. This love of color and art continued throughout her life with a lifelong love and skill of drawing and painting taking years of art classes, entering competitions and later teaching art. Mrs. Bennett produced many artworks and crafts over the years, sharing them in the community, with extended family and instilling a love of color, design and creative endeavors with her large family and friends. One of her efforts in this area, along with artist Pinky Bass, included launching The Bee-Hive Art Gallery in Blackshear, focused on featuring local artists’ work. After her husband died in 1975, and her second child entered college, Mrs. Bennett returned to working outside the home, taking first a job at Pierce County Hospital as a purchasing manager and later moving to the Okefenokee Area Heritage Center helping archive and display historical artifacts and artworks showcasing the community’s rich history in rail locomotion and timber harvesting. Given a lifelong membership at Blackshear Presbyterian Church, she then worked as an office manager for a period of time. Mrs. Bennett and other members were instrumental in founding the Blackshear Presbyterian Childcare Program which continues serving the community to this day. When time and resources permitted, she also enjoyed traveling visiting many states, park and historical sites either with the homemakers’ association, family or others. Mrs. Bennett would be the first to admit she was not a meticulous housekeeper, but she was an avid organizer of family mementos and genealogy and in her later years wrote of memories and life experiences. Some of the pivotal moments Mrs. Bennett described in her writings were:
• Having lost her mother at 3 years old…
• Having married a “wonderful” man, and with him having three “mostly” marvelous children. Mrs. Bennett said what gave her life meaning and purpose was having been raised with love by her father’s baby sister and her husband. She credited them with the positive things in her life.
To quote her, “The Lord knows what He is doing.” “Doris,” “Mom,” “Mimi” is and was so deeply loved and admired by her family and friends for that independence, entrepreneurial and feisty spirit that she will be missed every day for the rest of our lives. The family is indebted to the amazing caregivers, doctors, nurses and extended family who helped enhance her life. Mrs. Bennett was preceded in death by her husband, David Arthur Bennett Jr.; an infant daughter; brother-in-law Charles Leon Bennett; brother-in-law David Pittman; sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Charles and Louise Conley; sister in- law and brother-in-law, Jim and Joan Bugos; and brother-in-law, Edwin Riggins. Mrs. Bennett is survived by her children, David Arthur Bennett III (wife, Shirlee Bennett) of Jacksonville, Fla., Kathleen Frances Bennett (husband, Douglas S. “Casey” Herbert) of Durham, N.C., and Gregory Leon Bennett of Blackshear; four grandchildren, Jennifer Lee Bennett/Urbano (husband, Marco), Amanda Kay Bennett Sanders, Lee Steele Bennett, Sara Ann Bennett; her four greatgrandchildren, Stella Grace Urbano, Olivia Simone Urbano, Liam David Sanders, Clayton Seth Sanders; sister, Ruby Mae Pittman of Blackshear; sisters-in-law, Jean Bennett Riggins of Waycross, Ruth Bennett Esmonde (husband, Dave) of Snellville, Ga., and Anne Crosby Bennett,of Blackshear; 20 nieces and nephews and several other relatives and friends. A funeral was held Saturday afternoon, October 26, at Blackshear Presbyterian Church. Interment was in the Blackshear Cemetery. Sympathy may be expressed by signing the online register at www.pearsondial.com Pearson-Dial Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
Mary Frederick Vandevander
BLACKSHEAR – Mary Frederick Vandevander, 95 of Blackshear, died Monday evening, October 21, 2019 at the Hospice Satilla Hospice House after an extended illness. She was born in Marion County, Ala., to the late Simon Frederick and Nora Kennedy Frederick. Mrs. Vandevander had made her home in Waycross since 1950. She worked for King Edward Cigar Factory and was a member of Tebeau Street Church of Christ. Mrs. Vandevander loved gardening and spending any time she could enjoy the outdoors. Along with her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, Luther Lloyd Vandevander; two sisters, Willie Lawson and Lorene Wren; and two brothers, L.T. Frederick and F.D. Frederick. Mrs. Vandevander is survived by one daughter, Melotine Davis (husband, William) of Blackshear; one son, Howard Vandevander (wife, Ann) of Conyers; four grandchildren, Terry Morgan Day (husband, Roger) of Blackshear, Sherry Morgan Mc- Carthy (husband, Steve) of Waresboro, Kevin Vandevander (wife, Sally) of Conyers, Karen Vandevander of Conyers; five greatgrandchildren, Megan Day Rodriguez (husband, Robert), Kelly Day, Kyle McCarthy (wife, Victoria), Allie Vandevander, Nathan Vandevander; two great-great-grandchildren, Olivia McCarthy and Avery Rodriguez; two sisters, Gelna Johnson (husband, Jay) of Alabama, and Idell Nichols (husband, Don) of Michigan; and numerous other relatives. A funeral was held Thursday, October 24 at the Miles-Odum Funeral Home Chapel. Burial followed in Greenlawn Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Hospice Satilla, 808 Evergreen Way, Waycross, Georgia 31501. Sympathy may be expressed by signing online at www.milesodumfuneralhome.com
Billy Kevin Jones
WAYCROSS – Billy Kevin Jones, 52, died Monday morning, October 21, 2019 at Hospice House Satilla after a brief illness. Jones was a native and lifelong resident of Waycross. He was employed by Dubberly’s Glass Shop for 31 years. Jones was preceded in death by his brother, Alan Neal Jones. Survivors include three children, Billy Kyle Jones of Blackshear, Jennifer Jones Dixon (Trey) of Blackshear, and Alburn Hunter Jones (McKenzie) of Nahunta; the mother of his children, Barbara Gill; 10 grandchildren, Dominic Jones, Aubree Jones, Landon Bohannon, Cali Jones, Easton Jones, Kaizlei Jones, Axton Dixon, Liam Jones and Rilynn Dixon; a step-grandchild, Hayden Hall; his parents, William Jones and Jacqueline Hickox Jones, of Waycross; two brothers, Wendell Jones (Theresa) of Las Vegas, Nev., and Tim Jones (Robin) of Hoboken; and numerous nieces and nephews. A funeral was held Tuesday, October 29, 2019 at the Music Funeral Home Chapel. Burial followed in Beulah Baptist Church Cemetery. Sympathy may be expressed by signing the online registry at www.musicfuneralhome.com Music Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
John Arthur Lingenfelter
WAYCROSS – John Arthur Lingenfelter, 93, passed away Friday evening, October 25, 2019 at Baptist Village Comfort Care in Waycross. A native of North Ware County near Nicholls, Lingenfelter attended school in Bickley. He was a lifelong resident of the area, living in Nicholls, Waycross and Jamestown. His family came from the western farm area of Ohio. They brought the first Duroc Jersey Hogs to fairs in this area and later won the Georgia State Fair with “Ohio Boy” in 1912. His parents met at the Douglas Fair and later settled in the Nicholls area. Lingenfelter started his work career farming in the Nicholls area. Later, during WWII, he helped build Liberty Ships in Brunswick. Lingenfelter started in the dairy business at Lovett Farm near Waresboro. He worked at Phelps Dairy until they sold to Pet Dairy, working there until he retired. He was known as “Speedy,” as he quickly delivered the milk door-to-door for many years in the Cherokee Heights area. After retirement, Lingenfelter worked part-time at Winn-Dixie in Waycross. Lingenfelter was an avid fisherman, always had chickens and grew a huge garden. He could easily entertain with his storytelling of his life’s happenings and mishappenings. Lingenfelter loved to visit others, especially his family. He raised his family in Deenwood Baptist Church, but presently was a member of Bickley United Methodist. Lingenfelter was preceded in death by his parents, John Adam Lingenfelter and Delilah Meeks Lingenfelter; his wife of 49 years, Minnie Lee Gilliard Lingenfelter; four sisters, Cleo Anderson, Ethel Jordan, Louise Flynn and Oveda Nails; three brothers, Raymond, Glenn and Lamar Lingenfelter; and one grandson, Keith Emory Grantham. Survivors include two children, Evelyn Grantham-Holland of St. Simons, and Bruce Arthur Lingenfelter (Judy) of Bickley; one sister, Maurine Shore of Jacksonville, Fla.; two grandchildren, Nathan Lingenfelter (Kellie) of Douglas, and Brinson (Taylor) Lingenfelter of Newport Beach, Cal.; six great-grandchildren, Ben, Jack and Evan Lingenfelter of Douglas, and Harper, Knowles and Baker Lingenfelter of Newport Beach, Cal.; and many special cousins, nieces, and nephews. A funeral was held on Tuesday, October 29, at Music Funeral Home Chapel. Burial followed in Greenlawn Cemetery. Music Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.